Saturday, August 25, 2012

Homeschool Teacher In-service

This week was Teacher In-service.

Yes, I know we homeschool.

And I am the teacher. Still.

I am preparing for our 10th year of homeschooling. Did you hear what I said? TEN years of homeschooling!!!! I never wanted to homeschooling to begin with, and we are celebrating a decade of schooling at home. Even now, I often wonder how I got here! God's sense of humor I guess!

This year will also see my biggest challenge to date: one child in high school, one child in middle school, one in elementary, and one in Pre-K.

Needless to say, as I am finishing up a week lesson planning, my head is almost spinning around, 360 degrees, like some creepy horror show homeschooling mom.

It goes like this:

Okay, let's get this show on the road! Time to plan high school Biology! Great! Cells, classification, biology stuff. Do I have the lab equipment? Dissection kit? Okay, that should get us through the first month. Done.
Now,  printables on the letter "A", how to tie a shoe, and small-motor manipulatives. Oooo, I must remember to find that recipe on how to make play-dough at home. 
Okay, enough preschool. Moving to elementary history. Ah, this year we are studying the Medieval ages! Fun! Knights, castles, swords, Illuminated manuscripts-joy, joy! making the daily assignment calendar. Ooo that reminds me -
must work in time for Latin for the oldest two. Oh, but we have to schedule around The Young Adult's 3x a week math class.
Oh no! Did I forget about math when I scheduled First Lego League meetings? 
Where is my master calendar? Not that one - the color-coded one!
And the middle schooler must finish up his grammar program. Where is that book?

See my head spinning?

I know - I chose to homeschool! And what is more, I am making an extra effort to be organized. I figure that the more organized I am, the better the big boys can work on their own.

Oh, but I need to find a few lesson plans on The Deerslayer. I hated what we did two years ago.

I am hoping school starting up will not kill my efforts to get in shape. Being tons overweight, in spite of diet and exercise, I have made a bigger effort to ramp up what I am doing to workout. All fine and good. But it really needs to survive school. It sounds so easy - just 30 minutes!

Did I order those math books yet? No, I did not. I do not even want to contemplate how much the school books are costing this year.

 But 30 minutes while doing laundry (never-ending), directing school, and yelling at boys who would rather play Minecraft than decline Latin nouns. Plus, every time I work near the floor, the cat suddenly wants to cuddle with me. Nevertheless, it must work!

Shoot! I have to get those lesson plan for The Hobbit finished up! In less than two weeks, I will have 15 middle school coop students waiting for me to dazzle them with Tolkien!

Ah! One more week of planning! Buh-bye, summer 2012!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Holy Birthday, Batman!

First, let me make it clear that today's post has nothing to do with Batman. I think.... I never know where I'll end up, though!

Today is my birthday!
  • Yea! Birthdays are FUN! Birthdays mean good food, cake, and (in my best Spongebob-with-starry-eyes-voice)..presents! Not to mention the whole notion of having living though another year!
  • Boo! Birthdays mean I am one whole year older. The grey in my hair is multiplying. I am in (gulp), the last year of my 30's. Sigh.
Today is a day I share with several other women, who are both examples to me and reminders of all the growing I need to do:
  1. My Birthday Buddy, Sondra. She beat me a birthday greeting this morning! Dang it! I thought I would get to her first. She always manages it! Not that it is a race, but I wanted to show her that I remembered and thought about it on my own! Sondra is one of those women who I Want To Be. She always appears calm and patient. She is loving and kind. I am sure she would tell you she has her bad moments, but I feel pretty sure her bad moments are equal to my behavior on a good day! Sondra reminds me to be grateful for all I have, to live each moment with serenity, and to love.
  2. A woman I knew growing up, Mrs. Boyd. In spite of her ultra-large family, she seemed to do it all. She was industrious, smart, patient, and kind.  She always seemed to have time for me to come over when I was young, and play and watch her. 
  3. Julia Child - my Lil Bro reminded me of this birthday friend today. I have had to imitate her signature voice in vocal exercises (which is a real humility-opportunity, believe me! Nothing like standing at the front of a church and using your "outside" voice to chant Psalm 23 in Julia Child's voice to make you know that you would do just about anything to learn your craft!). My Life in France was such an eye-opener to me. Julia's attitude, her joie-de-vivre, her way of embracing like as an adventure is everything I am not! I am more Squidward than Spongebob, Felix than Oscar, Misty than Ash....well, you get the picture. Every time I cook, and know things are not perfect, I hear her voice in my head, telling me not to apologize for it, but to set it out and eat it up.
  4. Mary, Mother of God - okay, so today is not her birthday, but it is the Feast of the Assumption. And there is nothing like sharing your special day with the Blessed Mother! She is the woman par excellence. The human par excellence! 
So, from my birthday friends, I learn:
  • patience and thanksgiving (Sondra)
  • kindness and smart motherhood (Mrs. Boyd)
  • a reminder to live life with joy and gusto (Julia)
  • that there is so much more to this life than petty squabbles, material concerns, or even the humiliation of a big fat booty. And I can always ask for help from the Mother who Knows. (Mary).
So, I am off to give a hungry preschooler some lunch. Later I will get to go canter a feastday Mass (but not in Julia Child's voice), then go out to eat at an awesome local restaurant with my men-folk!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

(There and) Back Again

I'm baaaack!

So, I decided to take time off from blogging. You see, this spring I read that:
  • sometimes writers who want to become successful (read: published) think that blogging can help them write better. Kind of like someone who wants to run a marathon does not begin training with a 25 mile run, but rather starts in small increments, and builds up to the long distance, as their little runner muscles develop and strengthen. Not that I would know, since the only time I run is when a June bug is headed for my face. But that is the basic idea. Marathon runner - trains in small increments. Writer - trains through blogging.
  • Those writers who believe that blogging in anything like running are, in a word, fools! 
  • "Real" writers do not blog. "Real writers" know that blogging distracts them from "real"writing. 
  • They also should not read books, so as to keep their voice "pure".
Yeah. For some reason, this made sense to me in May, so I packed up my blogging skills, put away my novels, and waited for genius to break forth.
Only genius ended up taking a back seat to kids, errands, housework, school planning, and so forth.
 The plan started to fail in late July, when I could no longer resist reading to my heart's content (or when the 4-year-old will let me). 

Then, not too long ago, I got fed-up with my lifeline, facebook, and took a big step back from the petty name-calling, bashing-of-the-human-race that is a social media site in a political year.

Have you ever turned on your garden hose, but did not realize there is a kink in it? You keep waiting for the water to flow, but nothing comes out. You can hear an ominous noise that tells you water pressure is building somewhere, and then, just before the hose explodes in a flurry of garden-hosey-material, you spot the kink, release the pressure, and watch a tower of water shoot 50 feet into the sky from your sprinkler head.

Well, I AM that garden hose. I need to write, people!

I give up! Maybe my short publishing days are over! I don't care anymore. (kind of)

All I know for sure is, I am back!